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Who is Tom Delay of Texas?

By Nora Callahan, Executive Director, The November Coalition

On January 6, Rep. Tom Delay (R-TX) introduced his only proposed legislation for the 106th Congress so far, thank God I might add quickly. He titled the propsal: "A Bill to Limit the Jurisdiction of the Federal Courts with Respect to Prison Release Orders."

Delay's office decor was described in World Magazine, July 18, 1998. "A Capitol tourist who somehow eluded security and stumbled, unaware, into Tom Delay's offices might well conclude that the Texas Republican is some kind of Marquis de Sade in pin stripes. Mean looking braided leather bullwhips rest on wooden coffee tables and hang from the rich blue walls, clashing weirdly with the federal style elegance of the room."

Rep. Tom Delay wants to make sure that no matter how full our prisons get, nobody is gettin' out. No matter how many of the government's own laws they break, no matter how bad prison conditions get, no matter what! He also wants the world to know that he is a Christian.

When he rose in the House to introduce his bill he said, "The bill is simple -- it ends forever, the early release of violent felons and convicted drug dealers by judges who care more about the ACLU's prisoner rights wish list than about the Constitution, and the safety of our towns, communities and fellow citizens."

He isn't happy that under the threat of federal courts, states are being forced to prematurely release prisoners because of what activist judges call 'prison overcrowding.' And he said it just like that except he didn't call them prisoners, he called them convicts. And yes, he called judges that dare to speak their minds, activists.

Delay had more words about the judges, too. "The truth is no matter how Congress and state legislatures try to get tough on crime, we won't be effective until we deal with the judicial activism. The courts have undone almost every major anti-crime initiative passed by the legislative branch . . . There is an activist judge behind each of the most perverse failures of today's justice system."

It was sort of nice to hear the woes of the world thrown onto someone else for a change, but I haven't yet figured out if he has a bigger beef with prisoners, judges, or the American Civil Liberties Union. But you know, after learning about his office decor, I figure he's pretty much after everyone and anyone that doesn't see things his way. Did I mention that he was with the Christian Coalition and has a Focus on the Family?

When I run across the words of our some of our fearless leaders in Congress, I can't help but shudder. And I shuddered when Delay went on to say, "The Constitution of the United States gives us the power to take back our streets."

In this manner? By violating one law to fulfill a new one? Tell that to the citizens of New York City. Thousands of them are protesting daily at police headquarters for this very reason. They think that they have lost too much for the taking.

It was the end of the closing remarks that floored me though, after all that shuddering, too. Sometimes a person comes across what I call a hard-read and this was one of those. Delay said, and I imagine his voice was at a crescendo at this point, "I therefore call on Congress to consider legislative proposals that would reduce the jurisdiction of federal courts.' We should heed Justice Rehnquist's call-right here, right now!"

On another page of this issue you can read the true "call" of Justice Rehnquist. The true call he made was for Congress to give the federal courts a break and stop federalizing crime that could be handled at the state level.

It's sort of embarrassing isn't it? That a leader isn't paying attention-even when the Justice of the Supreme Court is talking. His closing remarks helped me figure out who he had the biggest beef with though, so rest easy convicts. It must be the Judge.

Working to end drug war injustice

Meet the People Behind The U.S. Sentencing Guidelines

Questions or problems? Contact